Pathway 1000 V18 #1

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875 Million In Economic Impact Over The Next Ten Years












Portland Community - “We are the change we seek” -Barack H. Obama

s I consider Pathway 1000 and its intentionality, t h e imbalances and wealth disparities that exist in our City and in our nation guide my reflections. I ponder these exacerbated imbalances that persist in Black Communities. During his New Hampshire Primary Concession S p e e c h , B a r a c k O b a m a s a i d “ We ’ v e b e e n a s k e d t o p a u s e f o r a r e a l i t y c h e c k . We ’ v e b e e n w a r n e d against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, t h e r e h a s n e v e r b e e n a ny t h i n g f a l s e a b o u t h o p e . However, we cannot ignore the fact that America i s a c o u n t r y b o r n w i t h s l a v e r y. I n s p i t e o f t h e significant strides we have made as a nation, v e s t i g e s o f t h i s g r e a t n a t i o n ’s n e g a t i v e h i s t o r y are pervasive. If we think about the racial and economic vulnerabilities existing in Portland, we can u n d e r s t a n d w hy t h e g e n t r i f i c a t i o n i n N E P o r t l a n d led to the rapid displacement of thousands of

families, primarily Black families. The displacement occurred with little capacity in the community to challenge the changes. We n e e d o n l y t o e x a m i n e t h e p r o m i s e s m a d e a n d the apologies later received to know what’s needed now is more than promises and apologies can p r o v i d e . Ac t i o n i s r e q u i r e d . P a t h w ay 1 0 0 0 a d d r e s s e s t h e h o u s i n g i s s u e s c a u s e d by i n c o m e d i s p a r i t i e s i n t h e C i t y o f P o r t l a n d a n d t h e S t a t e o f O r e g o n . We a r e p r o p o s i n g c o r r e c t i v e measures and long term solution. The Plan addresses unemployment, under employment, wage disparities and the unequitable treatment that lead to these n o t e d d i s p a ra t e o u t c o m e s . We w e l c o m e y o u t o d e l v e i n t o o u r s o l u t i o n s , a n d hope when you are done reading our Plan, you will want to be a part of it.

Maxine Fitzpatrick, Executive Director



“ Pathway 1000 is so much more than a plan to build houses. It is the inspiring story of a community’s rise, fall, and resurgent path into the future.” - Damien Hall



CONTENTS 6 8 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 30 34


The Wayfinders - why wisdom matters PCRI BOARD OF DIRECTORS

by Michele darr


the right to remain... home ERNEST WARREN - warren & sugarman attorneys at law

by michele darr


by sydney odell

winning formula TONY JONES

by sydney odell

BLACK owned & building Dennis Harris - albina construction

by sydney odell

Designing with hart bill hart - principal/Carleton hart architecture





Art director Jamaal Hale



building hope from the ground up andrew colas - colas construction

by michele darr

Collective impact pcri’s development staff

by sydney odell

Pathfinders pcri’s resident services staff - helping clients navigate the path to homeownership

By sydnel odell

root shock pcri clients find their way home

PHOTOGRAPHERS Fawn Aberson Sommer Martin Peter Kim Additional Photos courtesy of Flossin Media courtesy of PCRI

ALL OTHER COMMENTS & INQUIRIES Phone (866) -571-1969

BY fawn aberson

Stabilizers pcri’s resident management team - supporting housing stability BY Michele Darr


The art of maintenance


pcri upcoming events

pcri’s maintenance staff - keeping clients up and running By Michele Darr


Pathway 1000 Magazine is published by Flossin Media, LLC All rights reserved.

THANK YOU Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives Inc is the visionary organization behind the Pathway 1000 Implementation Plan and Pathway 1000 Magazine. We would like to acknowledge and send our gratitude to the generous support and contribution of our collective impact partners who helped fund, navigate and shape the process.

Grant Funders Meyer Memorial Trust Metro - Regional Government Wells Fargo Foundation Project Funders Us Bank Key Bank Beneficial Bank Oregon Housing Community Services Portland Housing Bureau Heritage Bank Upqua Bank Columbia Bank Board of Directors Dr. T Allen Bethel, Ernest Warren, Damian Hall, Kathy Swift, Eric Hunter, Dr. Karin Edwards, Andy Cotugno

“ Pathway 1000 addresses the core base need of our community in these times. It is an imaginative reconstruction strategy that provides an opportunity for viable economic development in our Black community. In its foundation we can stand, without bending, allowing our community to thrive while reinforcing ourselves with the perceptions of capability, significance and influence. “ -John Washington

Partners Flossin Media, NAMC, MCIP, Kate Allen Christine Hermann, Kent Buhl Special thanks to PCRI administrative Assistants Karmen Morrison- Admin Assistant PCRI Genora Dyer-Dishman- Receptionist PCRI Marqueesha Merriweather— Resident Service Assistant FIND MORE AT PCRIHOME.ORG | ISSUE 1 | PATHWAY 1000


From L to R: Ernest Warren, Damien Hall, Kathy Swift, Dr. T Allen Bethel, Maxine Fitzpatrick, Eric Hunter, Dr. Karin Edwards, Andy Cotugno



ehind most successful, vibrant nonprofit organizations dedicated to serving the community, you will find a tireless, devoted and unrelentingly focused Board of Directors. PCRI is no exception and boasts a roster of committed, passionate individuals who support the organizations mission to address widespread displacement by facilitating the return of families previously forced out of North and Northeast Portland by institutionalized inequity, gentrification and skyrocketing housing costs. The members of this luminous Board who strive to serve by helping to develop the policies and strategic direction of PCRI, includes Dr. T. Allen Bethel (Senior Pastor Maranatha Church of God), Andy Cotugno (former Metro Planning Director), Damien Hall (Ball Janik, LLP), Dr. Karin Edwards (Portland Community College, Cascade Campus), Kathy Swift (Pacific Continental Bank), Eric Hunter (CareOregon) and Ernie Warren (Warren and Sugarman).

As President of the Board of Directors, Dr. T. Allen Bethel came out to Portland 24 years ago from Boston where he worked in community housing and transportation. Witnessing the effects of displacement upon seniors and low-income communities on the East Coast prepared him to face the looming challenges right outside his church doors in North Portland. “I started noticing what was happening in the neighborhood around my church building. Properties that had been abandoned were now being bought and developed and priced in a way that was making it so not many people

people in the community among the other things we are doing as a church.” After meeting PCRI Executive Director, Maxine Fitzpatrick, Dr. Bethel was sold on the dream and the plan to help people overcome not just housing insecurities, but deeper institutional barriers to wealth-building and factors leading to generational poverty. “I began to look at the plans, listened to Maxine’s dream and after talking about and reflecting upon homeownership and affordable housing, it became more of a reality to me that this CAN be done,” he said enthusiastically. “My guidance on this as we talk about Pathway 1000, is that it’s truly important to create a pathway towards homeownership as a means to wealth-building. One of the biggest ways that one can accumulate and build wealth is to build it in terms of property: a house and land. By creating wealth, you then create it not just for yourself but for generations to follow. Pathway 1000 is trying to show and guide

“I started noticing what was happening in the neighborhood around my church building.”


could afford to live in the neighborhood, let alone purchase a property and live there,” he said sadly. “So housing became kind of a human cry as I looked to try and help


people to put in the work and the effort to become homeowners and works with people so that when they DO become homeowners, they become TRUE homeowners and don’t find themselves saddled with another mortgage in the end,” he stated resolutely. Devoted to PCRI’s mission of providing housing while helping to build community and community resiliency, Dr. Bethel reflected upon the many aspects of building true community. “You need to have a diversity of economic status and cultures. What PCRI does is that even though we build multi-unit buildings that emphasize diversity, we also build and manage scattered sites such as duplexes and houses within the community confines so that people have that sense of being part of the larger community network. If I can make the fabric of our community better, it’s not just good for African-Americans, it’s good for everybody.” Board Secretary, Dr. Karin Edwards, agrees. “For a long time, I have been in the business of trying to help people and to have a positive impact on communities that have been either marginalized or in some way negatively impacted, whether by policy, practice or anything else. Hearing some of the stories of displacement and the impact of that through the students I work with here at PCC, I know the difficulties it has created for them to start or complete their education. Providing people with affordable housing and investing in their economic development, education and training in order to help them begin to start building wealth is really exciting for me,” she shared. After meeting PCRI Executive Director, Maxine Fitzpatrick, Dr. Edwards found that the organization was far more than just another community non-profit vested in providing affordable housing. “When I came to learn about PCRI and the work that they do, I felt compelled by their mission,” she remembers. “PCRI is more than an organization that just provides housing, it’s entire mission is really about changing lives and breaking the cycles of generational poverty. It’s certainly been a learning experience about how much actually goes into making this happen. The amount of money and effort it takes is really huge and now with the first groundbreaking of Pathway 1000, we are on an incredible road. This is just the beginning.”

1000 is a visionary project that could not have made the strides that it has accomplished without the dedicated, endlessly devoted leadership of PCRI’s Executive Director, Maxine Fitzpatrick. “Maxine is most dedicated to the cause and one of the most passionate, determined women I know,” enthused Dr. Edwards. “She knows her business incredibly well and I don’t think there is any facet of it that she isn’t proficient in. She also doesn’t see this as just housing and community development work, she and the organization are committed to justice. It’s about making people who have been damaged, whole again. Coming from that place makes her a different kind of activist. She is unafraid, she is not intimidated, she really believes in the work she is doing and she gives it her all.” Dr. Bethel also effusively praised the efforts, passion and dedication of Ms. Fitzpatrick. “I don’t believe that Pathway 1000 would be where it is today if it was not for the leadership of a person known as Dr. T. Allen Bethel Maxine Fitzpatrick. She has lived Chairman of it. She sees it. It’s a view that she’s PCRI Board of Directors seen and she’s come down, so to speak, off that mountaintop, back into the valley to say, ‘I want to show you what I’ve seen and how we can get there.’ And she continues to fight for that. Whenever there is a block that comes up, she comes up with a way to overcome it and makes it possible to continue to move forward.” As for what it is about PCRI that brings him the most joy and inspiration, Dr. Bethel reflected upon the human impact of the organizations work. “As I have watched people who have moved into their own houses through PCRI, it is the joy I have seen in their eyes when they are finally able to say, ‘I’ve got the keys in my hand to my property. I am now a homeowner’. You just can’t replace that. There just aren’t really words to describe it when you watch a person work hard, struggle, meet disappointment, not give up and then eventually succeed.” As for the organizations trajectory and potential for widespread impact, Dr. Bethel concludes,”Pathway 1000 is unique, it’s ahead of its time, but it’s behind the time too. It’s much needed and is going to do a marvelous, fantastic job for the City of Portland and will become a model, I believe, for other areas seeking solutions.”

Both Dr. Bethel and Dr. Edwards are in agreement that Pathway FIND MORE AT PCRIHOME.ORG | ISSUE 1 | PATHWAY 1000



T o many observers, Portland is famous for the high quality of its urban planning: the distinct neighborhoods, the transit system, the bike lanes, the food carts, the high-quality and preserved character of so many core areas. For many other people though, Portland also brings to mind the racialized cleansing of residents, the fierce gentrification of Albina, the displacement and dispossession of so many Black families. It is not by accident that Portland is now the whitest major city in America and the premier exemplar of hipster, techbro and (seemingly) tolerant white people blithely occupying inner-cities with their craft beer, bikes and wildly over-priced housing. However, Portland is hardly alone in facing this scourge. In c ities acr o ss the g lo be , ong o ing cyc le s o f displacement have become so chronic, that ritualistic removals of local residents, businesses and community ventures are now expected and normalized as just the everyday workings of the urban marketplace. We are all inured to it, numbed by the losses around us as our friends, families and neighbors are pushed out of the neighborhood, family businesses close and buildings are torn down and replaced with something made of glass and brushed steel. Any attractive community in any city is exposed, especially if they are close to the urban core. All across the planet, new waves of upscale residents and residences, investment properties, spectactularist touristic forays and all the social/cultural/architectural infrastructures that serve them, are invading inner cities. We are living 8


“ Portland has to confront its legacy of thefts and dispossession.”

in the midst of an exhaustively documented, historic and historically dislocating, global rush to cities. New urbanist planning and recently-carved circuits of capital are reshaping central districts, making them more attractive, more livable and more vibrant. Those armed with financial firepower are being convinced, en masse, to embrace revanchist urban living: agile real estate, developer and marketing interests and new occupying forms of capital - encouraged and greased by progressive urban planners – and are invading the city with startling ferocity. The sheer speed of this urban occupation is aggressively pushing poorer residents further and further away from city cores, where their social marginalization is exacerbated by physical isolation. In cities from Seattle, to Seoul, to Sofia and everywhere in between, middle, working-class and poor people are finding it increasingly difficult to find viable housing and commercial opportunities in premium inner-city neighbourhoods. Of course, it is not happening at the same velocity or in the same patterns everywhere – every city evinces its own

peculiarities and tendencies – but throughout North America and so many cities across the planet, there is a startling phenomena unfolding. It is visible, immediately, in cities we used to know and love. The radical reshaping of inner cities means that we are also witnessing a related suburbanization of poverty across North America (and elsewhere – in many parts of the globe this has been true for a very long time) and thus, of course, a commensurate racialization of much of suburbia. As the Black Displacement Project puts it, “The proportion of the black population, living in the biggest city of a given metropolitan area, decreased in all 20 of the nation’s largest metro areas in the past decade.” These are key factors driving explosive inequality. We live in an era where commentators can scarcely find the words to describe the incredible concentrations of wealth that are accumulating in ever-fewer hands. As soon as one report emerges, documenting exactly how much the 1% or the .1% controls, another even-more-ghastly set of stats trumps the previous numbers. As I write, it is now just the six richest people on earth who own more wealth than the bottom half (3.7 billion). The top 1% has more money than the other FIND MORE AT PCRIHOME.ORG | ISSUE 1 | PATHWAY 1000


Beatrice Morrow Cannady was a renowned civil rights advocate in early 20th-century Oregon, United States. She was editor of the Advocate, the state’s largest African-American newspaper.

99%, something that has been true since 2015, a trajectory that is accelerating. These are some hideous statistics and the endemic displacement disfiguring so many of our cities is beyond infuriating. But, we are not helpless! All too often, urban residents act as if gentrification is inevitable, but this is absolutely not true. In cities across the globe, there are incredible efforts underway to combat displacement, stand up to capital and assert everyday people’s claims to the city. Pathway 1000 is a sterling example in this proud tradition: it’s ambition and confidence is exactly the kind of thinking we need so badly today. More than just ideas, this is innovative and energetic action.

Mississauga-Anishnaabe storyteller, scholar and author Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, (speaking about Indigenous resurgences in Canada) puts it perfectly: “You know what? Even within Canadian law, when an individual steals a really expensive car and gets caught, they still have to give it back! They don’t get to keep it, even if it’s worth a lot of money and they really like it”. Just as the Canadian government has to return stolen Indigenous land, Portland has to confront its legacy of thefts and dispossession. But, it’s not going to come easily and Portland – just like the rest of America - has to be forced to answer to its history.

“ Capitalism can only function when one (or more) of its core pillars, Land, Labor and Capital is stolen.”

Capitalism can only function when one (or more) of its core pillars, Land, Labor and Capital is stolen. Think of all the historical and current examples of capitalist theft: the theft of Indigenous land and Black bodies, of redlining and predatory lending, of dispossessions and incarcerations. Capitalism never functions fairly and theft gives certain people massive, historically-entrenched and intergenerational advantages. If we are going to fight urban displacement, we have to stand up to market logics and face these thefts head-on. 10


Investing $300 million in affordable housing stock in the North/Northeast over the next 10 years, is absolutely necessary. Building 1000 homes – 100 a year – and specifically building for communities of color, is inspiring work. If Portland is serious about housing justice and reversing decades of displacement, then it has a long way to go to renovate its reputation and this is a foundational initiative. Bringing Black families and residents back to the North and Northeast has to be at the core of that project.

Carleton Hart Architectural Rendering of The Beatrice Morrow Affordable Housing Development. Coming in 2018

Housing is much more than just the physical buildings. Pathway 1000 will create near a billion dollars in economic reverberations: new jobs, business opportunities and multiplier effects of all kinds will be stimulated by these new investments. Reversing generations of discrimination, segregations and displacement in Portland, however, require that these investments be leveraged over and over again, all the way down the line, to keep forging a new kind of economic landscape. Our current economic structures have racist ideologies baked into the recipe and a single set of investments is necessary, but not sufficient, to rewrite that. The money has to root and serve communities of color in Portland for generations and in all kinds of ways. That investment has to insist on hiring Blackowned businesses and low-income, local residents and has to demand preferential bidding throughout every economic chain for co-operatives, non-profits and locally-owned businesses. Every dollar of this project can serve the North/ Northeast repeatedly and can be leveraged and re-leveraged in the community to create real prosperity. The exhaustion of capitalist logics demands that we imagine a better economy – and that means building economics of solidarity. That’s why it is so important to resist the root causes of displacement, so the same processes do not repeat themselves over and over again, in new disguises. The

North/Northeast has seen multiple waves of dispossessions starting with the removal of the Indigenous communities that inhabited the land that Portland currently sits on – and those displacements will happen again if the same logics are reapplied. Resisting displacement articulates a fidelity to place – a care and love for a neighbourhood, for a community, for land, for neighbours – that is stronger than the callow chase for profit. Economics of solidarity have to function beyond the market, invoking a different set of values and priorities. The market has no loyalty – it is a zombie that cares nothing for real value – so creating communities that do not revert to white supremacist histories and patterns, has to insist on actual values of love and care. That kind of love has nothing to do with the market. Love for place also means a rage and anger – a fury at what has been done and is being done - to the places we love. That rage comes in many forms, but one of the most productive is imagination: imagining new ways to be in the world. It means creating new kinds of land tenure that build real security and solidarity – a prosperity that is rooted in fidelity. Throughout the country and across the globe, there are brilliant new forms of housing and neighborhoods being built that are creating better ways to live together. Pathway 1000 is exactly this kind of project.



Ernest Warren - Managing Partner Warren and Sugarman Attorneys at Law

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN...HOME ERNEST WARREN - warren & sugarman attorneys at law WORDS BY Michele Darr


hen it comes to lawyers, Ernest Warren, Jr. is in a league of his own. Intense and compassionate, Warren is a practicing attorney and the sole owner of the Portland law firm of Warren and Sugarman. Over the course of 28 years, Warren has partnered with other minority lawyers to build a prominent and successful practice. Of these former partners, three became judges; Ken Walker, Yolanda Watkins and Tim Barnett. Born at OHSU and raised in Portland OR by a single father who supported the family as an insurance salesman, Warren spent his high school years at Jefferson and Sunset and enrolled at Willamette University where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration. In pursuit of his Doctoral degree in law, he attended Arizona State in Tempe, AZ. “I knew I wanted to do trials because it was competitive and I wanted to compete. Before I came back to Oregon, I won 15 trials against experienced trial lawyers that were getting paid a lot of money,” he said with a glimmer in his eye. “However, I also went into law because I saw a way to help people by doing this. I wanted to be able to represent people in my family and people in my community, because 12


in Oregon, we have a very small African-American population. About 3000 of them are related to me, as I have the largest family of African-Americans in the State and I always wanted to be accessible to them.” His passion, drive and record of trial wins garnered him the attention of Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives, Inc. (PCRI), an organization founded by families, neighborhood and government leaders in the aftermath of a housing crisis in the inner north and northeast neighborhoods of Portland. PCRI’s latest program, Pathway 1000, is a displacement mitigation initiative created and informed through community outreach and feedback to address generational poverty stemming from profound disparities in the housing and employment markets. The program also seeks to address the serious and serial mistreatment of Black people in Portland that resulted in residents being quickly and easily kicked out of neighborhoods they lived in for generations: the only neighborhoods they were even allowed to live in. In addition to mitigating displacement, the initiative aims to reclaim the

historic heart and soul of Portland’s African-American community and build prosperity for African-Americans and others displaced from North and Northeast Portland through the development and construction of 1,000 new affordable homes during the next decade. The housing crisis and ensuing land grab that prompted the formation of PCRI was the result of years of redlining by financial institutions that caused lowincome, Black and minority families to be ineligible for conventional mortgages. Attracted by the desperation of the situation, a predatory and unscrupulous mortgage firm, Dominion Capital, moved in and got to work scamming hundreds of unsuspecting families who signed subprime mortgage contracts that eventually resulted in wholesale displacement and a devastating continuation of cycles of generational poverty. After The Oregonian

made the improvements to bring it up to building code which then made it habitable to be rented at a fair market value. After 4 years and numerous lawsuits, we won all 350 title actions and all but one family that wanted to be reinvested with their home, got reinvested with their home. After that there were another 278 properties, including the homes that were purchased by PCRI and as their agent, sold back to the people at a reasonable interest rate, helping them secure the equity they needed to get a conventional bank loans taking PCRI out of it.

exposed these practices and the tragedies resulting from them, the brokerage firm, headed up by Cyril Worm (yes, you read that right) and his partner, Ed Stevens, were convicted of racketeering and fraud. With more than a modicum of anger tinging his normally even tone, Warren went on to explain how poor families were lured and victimized. “None of these people had titles or ownership of property. All of it was by contract. They had weak contracts at 20-25% interest and they all got wiped out from being in an inferior position. Dominion Capital eventually seized ownership of hundreds of properties and when the AG brought criminal fraud charges against them, they went to bankruptcy court for protection. After PCRI was formed, the non-profit then borrowed the money from US Bank ( 12.3 million), backed by the City of Portland to purchase the 350 clouded property titles out of bankruptcy and to fight for the titles to be cleared. When PCRI hired me, my job was to take all 350 properties to court, get the title in PCRI’s name and reinvest those 72 families into their own homes. The remaining 278 properties were then to be converted into affordable housing including apartment properties and single family dwellings.

don’t do it intentionally, there is a strong, silent institutional current that wants to stomp the little guy,” he said sadly. “If we turn back the hand of time, the institutions that historically oppressed black people and finally freed them from slavery are still afraid of African- American men. In families, they will try to get rid of that man because he poses a threat to the institution because of his masculinity, strength and ability to cause harm. You can still see that attitude ingrained in institutions like DHS who look to the woman as the leader of the family rather than the man. It also still exists in Oregon to this day in the form of modern day “Lynch Laws”, where they make it easier to convict African-American men so that they can have forced labor. The only place where the 13th amendment doesn’t apply, is to forced labor. So all of these beautiful roads, cities and places that you have seen around Portland were built by slaves and forced labor, which is still slave labor anyway,” he said sadly. Warren feels that PCRI and, in particular, the Pathway 1000 initiative, has a great potential for success. “For all working class families, the biggest creator of wealth is the home.

“ Poor people would lose the homes because the contract was for only 2 years and they would often default when the balloon payment came. ”

We were fighting lawyers from CA and everywhere else because they had invested a lot of money in Dominion Capital. $2m of the money we borrowed was for remodeling purposes because many of these homes were not to building code and if it’s not to building code, it’s uninhabitable. Dominion Capital was putting these people in uninhabitable homes and selling them at unconscionably high interest rates. Poor people would lose the homes because the contract was for only 5 years and they would often default when the balloon payment came due. Even though they had made all of the improvements to the home, Dominion Capital would then take back the property and lease it out because the poor people had

Each and every home is a win and I won 350 cases. I have never lost a case for PCRI.”As for the wrongs committed within the context of institutionalized racism, Warren reflected, “So many times institutions that are supposed to be designed to promote the growth in people have cut them down and stomped people into the grave. The school districts, the local governments, even though they

People have a sense of pride when they own their own homes and they have a sense of family as well. My advice to every African-American in N. and N.E Portland and all people is to keep your property, talk to others and get as many opinions as possible before you try to sell your property. Develop your own property or rent it because the market is so high, it’s almost impossible to find a rental property in N. and N.E. Portland. Don’t let anyone steal that from you or trick you out of your property. We have the financing, the power, the City of Portland is getting behind us and we are going to reach out to everyone we can. My role is to be the lawyer, so anywhere along the lines, I’m going to do what I’ve got to do to make sure it gets done,” Warren concluded.



Nate McKoy Executive Director NAMC



here are few community members trying to extend that ladder of opportunity as much as Nate McKoy. Having worked as a construction manager for the city of Portland, McKoy is intimately aware of the problems facing African-Americans working in the construction field. The past 20 years have seen a decline in the amount of African-American businesses in Portland due to a lack supportive policies and cultural attitudes. Seeing a need in his community, McKoy now puts his industry experience to work as the Executive Director at the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC), a membership organization which helps contractors navigate the construction industry in Oregon State. NAMC has partnered with many different firms throughout Portland to provide training, resources, and capital to emerging minorityowned construction businesses. By helping businesses to get organized and manage their project expectations, NAMC has helped support African-Americans at all levels of project



WORDS BY Sydney Odell management in Portland. We sat down with McKoy at his office to talk about the work he’s doing with Pathway 1,000, and how NAMC’s advocacy has helped improve opportunities for African-American contractors in Portland. What problems face the African-American community in terms of access to resources, assistance, and opportunities in the construction field? N: Success in this industry is less about the actual construction projects and more about the longevity of resources. You have to understand that many construction companies in Portland are intergenerational businesses that have been largely dominated by white owners for over 100 years. Having the guidance and opportunities provided through family-owned businesses brings huge success in a relationship -based industry like construction. However, many minority contractors today are

generally starting their businesses from scratch versus that generational exchange of resources. This mentorship is a kind of privilege which has been lacking from the African-American experience, as alot of African-Americans come from broken homes. I like to refer to this unspoken resource as FBI—or fathers, brothers, and in-laws. It can be hard to see the pathway of entrepreneurship available to you without those kinds of influential relationships. On the other hand, I also think that there has never really been a policy agenda which supported the growth of African-Americans in this industry. There just isn’t that kind of targeted support to provide resources like startup capital, training, and organizational structuring to the African-American community. NAMC has been working to change that narrative, providing a progression of mentoring from the worker all the way up to the general contractor where minorities feel they are being supported in a variety of different ways.

contacts throughout the construction industry. We help give minority contractors a seat at the table, helping to set the tone and ensure that these contractors are taken seriously as professionals in their field. Part of that is also working to increase the industry’s sensitivity to the different work capacities of various contractors and setting realistic expectations. For example, there may be a 30 story demolition project that a big contractor can complete—but a small contractor only has the capacity to do a few floors. It’s not so much about bringing contractors in to meet a quota as it is about teaching those industries to help support emerging minority contractors.

“ I’ve always had a passion for change and really wanting to see a lot more support and resources for minorities in a very white city like Portland, Oregon. ”

How does NAMC help minority contractors navigate the construction field effectively so that they can become sustainable, profitable, and grow over time? N: Well I think the biggest thing we bring to the table is our

How does it feel to be a part of the Pathway 1000 project? N: I’ve always had a passion for change and really wanting to see a lot more support and resources for minorities in a very white city like Portland, Oregon. There haven’t been a lot of advocates out here supporting folks, and a lot of them aren’t able to get projects on their own. It feels great to be able to now give people access to the resources they need to be successful. I think there are an abundance of resources which need to be shared in the African-American community, and I think that’s what Pathway 1,000 has been all about. FIND MORE AT PCRIHOME.ORG | ISSUE 1 | PATHWAY 1000


THE WINNING FORMULA Helping Minortity Contractors Land The Big Deal. WORDS BY SYDNEY ODELL Tony Jones is a man with his feet firmly planted in the Portland community. Jones’ background in community development, small business lending, and organizational management is being put to work at the Metropolitan Contractor Improvement Program (MCIP) which helps provide opportunities to emerging minority construction business owners. As the Executive Director of MCIP, Jones’ office is the technical assistance branch of the National Association for Minority Contractors (NAMC) which collaborate to connect community members with available job opportunities, conduct monthly workshops, and provide specialized one-on-one trainings for construction owners. In partnering with the Pathway 1,000 program, MCIP is eager to be an anchor to attract minorities back into gentrified areas of Portland by providing opportunities for minority construction owners. We sat down to talk with Jones about his role in the project and how minorities can overcome industry setbacks to become successful business owners in Portland. What have you learned about the construction field over time? T: I think there is a great economic opportunity for livable wage jobs—that’s the main thing. My background was in affordable housing, but I have to give James Posey credit for planting the seed about wealth creation. James said to me, “Affordable housing houses people at their level of oppression.” Essentially, at the end of the day if we’re not helping people build income and save wealth, it’s a continued downward spiral. So it kind of woke me up and made me realize we need to pay attention to the economic development side. That’s how I got connected into learning even more about construction as part of the holistic picture to help our community. What are some common barriers minorities face in the construction field? There are three main barriers we face as minorities in this field. One of the key barriers is that our community lacks the years of experience that our white counterparts have enjoyed. Due to slavery and discrimination, we lack the economic infrastructure and relationships within the construction industry to really start and sustain a business. The second obstacle we face is proper business training. Construction owners in particular are tradesmen who are used to working with their hands. But managing a project 16


takes a different set of skills to build relationships, manage paperwork, and deal with your profit margins. The third barrier that we face in this industry is a ready workforce. Trying to identify qualified people to do the specialized skills required in the construction field is difficult due to a mix of past trauma and modern apathy surrounding manual labor in our community. So there is a kind of a gap regarding the amount of skilled laborers and interested development opportunities for minority workers in the construction field. These three barriers make it challenging, though not impossible, to be successful in this industry. What kind of attitude does MCIP operate under in terms of attracting new clients? T: I like to operate under the mentality “where much is given much is required.” I’m not blaming people for not walking in the door. Our community is constantly being inundated with marketing ploys and false opportunities which can be difficult to navigate. In trying to find that work/life balance, I think a lot of people gravitate towards family and tune out the rest. So our challenge as MCIP is how do we grab and keep their attention to pass on this information about job opportunities and wealth creation. It’s our responsibility to get out there and find these folks and let them know that we are here. What has motivated you to give back to the Portland community and combine this historically marginalized technical industry with opportunities for minority workers? T: It was the disparity between hard work and opportunity which really first drove me to this kind of work. Seeing how hard my mother worked and how little opportunity she was given- it lead me to believe there was a better way of doing things. Growing up, I was a smart kid put into advanced classes and given all kinds of opportunity as a consequence. But then I’d look at my friends in the streets who were just as intelligent, but in different ways and they didn’t get the opportunity for progression that I did sitting in that class. So from a young age I always wanted to give back and make sure that I respected my elders pain, listened to their stories, and looked after my community. I didn’t understand the fine details—but I knew that I wanted to help guide people to opportunity. Now I understand the tools available to help my people break out of that system of oppression and poverty at MCIP, and I’m just excited to extend the ladder of opportunity for others.

“I like to operate under the mentality where much is given much is required.”

Tony Jones Executive Director MCIP






Dennis Harris - Owner Albina Construction

When it comes to Portland entrepreneurs, Dennis Harris is as local as you can get. A founding partner at Albina Construction in NE Portland, Harris has been building in his hometown neighborhood since 1989 and has partnered with many local and state firms along the way. Harris has also been working to provide African-Americans interested in the construction field with viable minority mentors and resources. His latest housing development project with Pathway 1,000 will help provide affordable home ownership opportunities to African-American families in NE Portland. We sat down to talk with Harris about wealth creation and what it means to be a part of the Albina community.

Pathway 1000 breaks ground on the future site of five townhomes being built by Albina Construction

So what made you choose the construction field? D: Well my mother and my aunt were the second and third female plaster layers in Oregon State. They laid dry-wall when I was growing up, so I was always cutting and nailing stuff. Other than them, I didn’t really have a lot of black male mentors around. Then when I was being bussed to school at Robert Gray in the West Hills, I became friends with Tom Walsh whose father happened to own a construction firm. One day when I was 21 years old, his dad asked me if I was interested in working in this field. In one of the coldest winters in Portland, I went on a three hour interview to all of Walsh’s construction job sites. I was already interested in building, but when he told me that the pay started out at $15 an hour, I said, which day do you want me to start? What kinds of discrimination have you experienced working in the construction industry in Portland? How did you react to that? D: I’ve had all kinds of discrimination on the job from macroaggressions all the way to violent incitement. There have been several times when I’m out on a job site and different materials salesman come up and ask me who is in charge. When you’re African-American—there’s this assumption that you’re always the laborer, never the boss. Then other times I would be in a break room, and someone would drop a racist profanity and everyone would look at me. But I wouldn’t even give them the satisfaction of a reaction, I don’t like to engage people violently. I understand why a lot of people can’t succeed in this industry. The fact is, they let people get to them. When it comes to dealing with ignorant people, you just have to kill them with kindness and let your work ethic speak for itself.

How have you seen diversity expanding in the construction field? When you go through job sites right now, you definitely see more minorities. You see more women. You see young guys in their 20’s and 30’s. Now I know a person of color in almost every field, and I just didn’t have those kind of mentors when I was starting out. We give each other referrals and opportunities in building and that’s been a nice community feeling. In the end though, it’s just the amount of people that are on job sites that’s the proof in the pudding so to speak. What message would you tell young African-Americans wanting to break into this field? D: Don’t let that myth that people tell you about college get to you. Not everyone has to go to college, and with construction there are so many different trades you can go into. There’s plumbers, electricians, carpenters—it’s a wide open field. The best way to gain some experience is to join a union and do an apprenticeship. You have to go to class something like one week every 3 months but you can still work and get paid while you learn. And then after 4 years of training, you’ve gained the level of journeyman and that’s where you’re earning top wage. How does it make you feel to know that you are building homes for African-American families? D: You know my house is just around the corner, and I’ve been in this neighborhood since 1973. I’ve watched a lot of people leave over the years and it was just sad to see families have to sell to developers. With projects like these, it just feels good to see people like me coming back into Portland as homeowners and know that I’m giving back to this community. FIND MORE AT PCRIHOME.ORG | ISSUE 1 | PATHWAY 1000


DESIGNING WITH HART bill hart - principal/Carleton hart architecture words by michele darr


owered by a drive to reverse generations of discrimination, segregation and displacement in Portland, Bill Hart is a designer with a vision and a purpose. Born into one of a handful of black families in Williamstown, Mass., he knew, from the ripe old age of four years old that he wanted to be an architect. Focusing on math and mechanical drawing classes in high school, he went on to attend Dartmouth College, majored in art for four years and, through his uncle, got involved in an architecture firm where he interned over the course of 3 summers. Knowing that he wanted to study sustainable technologies such as solar energy uses, water and rainwater harvesting, he chose to attend graduate school at the University of Oregon where he took classes in planning and urban design. After graduation, he was selected to travel to and work in Saudi Arabia. “ I had a friend who went home to Saudi Arabia and was working on projects with Aramco,” shared Mr. Hart. “They needed Americans who understood building codes, so I had the opportunity to join a team of about 25 and work on master planning for a town of 200,000 people.” Upon his return, he merged with Brian Carleton and formed CarletonHart Architecture in 1994. Maintaining an unwavering commitment to serving the needs of historic and undeserved populations with the same quality afforded to those with more resources, the minority-led firm employs 30 people and describes itself as a “collaborative design practice dedicated to creating innovative solutions to community centered design challenges.” Keeping a lens focused upon projects that are “community based and people oriented”, Carleton-Hart has a full roster of project types which include mixed-use development, intentional communities, multifamily and special-needs housing, community and cultural centers, education and civic buildings, aviation, and general commercial developments. “We are mainly interested in community and community focused projects, community centers, recreation centers, cultural centers, affordable housing and a lot of work with non-profits,” Mr. Hart revealed. “Part of my goal is to give back to communities that don’t usually get a chance to work with architects.”



Bill Hart - Principal Carleton Hart Architecture

It was only a matter of time before Mr. Hart met the acquaintance of PCRI Director, Maxine Fitzpatrick, and first heard of Pathway 1000, the organizations flagship displacement mitigation project. Securing an initial $300 million capital infusion for the construction of 1000 new affordable homes in North and Northeast Portland over the next 10 years, construction of the dwellings are projected to have an $875 million overall impact on the local economy, an impact that Pathway 1000 intends to make available to all through equity and inclusion strategies developed in partnership with NAMCOR(National Association of Minority Contractors) and MCIP(Minority Contractors Improvement Project). Combined economic impact projections revealed that while the booming Oregon construction market currently accounts for more than $5,000,000,000 in annual industry payroll and more than 6% of total employment, minority participation lags far behind, with fewer than a dozen registered minority business enterprises(MBE) and disadvantaged business enterprises(DBE) in the entire Portland market. To address this and other grave, employment related disparities, the Pathway 1000 Initiative emphasizes the hiring of minority owned firms and workers through the development and implementation of an integrated marketing strategy to expand the participation of MBE/DBE contractors, minorities and women on Pathway 1000 construction opportunities. As one of the few minority-owned firms in Portland, CarletonHart was a natural fit for the project. “I heard about PCRI 3 or 4 years ago, when, in a conversation with Maxine, we began the discussion about working together.” These discussions have since resulted in the firm joining forces with PCRI on the construction of

the building that would reflect some cultural sensitivity to the residents.” One of the most impactful goals of Pathway 1000 is not just to provide prosperity opportunities through housing but to provide career opportunities for displaced residents and people of color through making available positions in all phases of design, development and construction in it’s projects. “Many minority contractors don’t have the opportunity to bid and work on all the projects you see going up around Portland. We have a focused commitment to working with the National Association of Minority Contractors and this will provide opportunities for local minority contractors we believe they would not have otherwise,” impassionately stated PCRI Executive Director Maxine Fitzpatrick. Doing their part to help the project stay true to this goal, Carleton-Hart is proceeding to include other minority contractors in it’s implementation goals. “We have been working with an interior designer, Mia Knox. This is her first commercial experience in terms of design. We have come in to mentor her to get her involved in some of the artwork, color, and displays that will go on and in the building. She has come back with proposals that PCRI has been happy with.” he said. “We have also included a smaller architecture firm owned by an AsianAmerican, Neil Lee. His firm, Leeka Design, is handling tenant improvements on the first floor.” Kafoury Court

the affordable rental housing and community-serving commercial retail space located at NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. between Cook and Ivy Streets. Named for the legendary Black pioneer, Beatrice Morrow Cannady, The Beatrice Morrow is targeting LEED Gold certification for its healthy, energy-efficient design. 80 affordable apartment homes, prioritized for historic residents of North and Northeast Portland, include studio, 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments with air conditioning, full kitchens including dishwasher and microwave, secure elevator access, laundry facilities on each floor, and a generous ground floor community room with an on-site resident services coordinator and a computer lab.

Carleton-Hart is not just an active partner in the construction of the Beatrice Morrow building, but is also helping to procure funding for the next Pathway 1000 housing project, Kafoury Court, by producing conceptual designs for potential funders. Mr. Hart concluded by talking about his enthusiasm for being involved in the historic project to mitigate displacement in Portland.

“Many minority contractors don’t have the opportunity to bid and work on all the projects you see going up around Portland.”

“I first heard about Beatrice Morrow through my work and association with the Oregon Black Pioneers, an organization that has been doing a lot of work on African-American History in the State of Oregon,” Mr. Hart said. “The approach we used was that, in order to make it feel more like a culturally sensitive neighborhood, we decided to incorporate some artwork on the inside and outside of

“I’m excited to be part of Pathway 1000. The biggest thing for us

is supporting the direction of Pathway 1000 and the tenacity Maxine has for providing opportunities. One way of overcoming barriers is by doing it with a lot of different partners. I feel good about our involvement with PCRI and Colas and just the whole approach of working together on a project like this. There might eventually be challenges, especially budget challenges trying to bring people back to the community and also not displace other people. I consider Maxine to be a real leader in affordable housing. Her goals and mission are outstanding and she’s making progress despite challenges. She is a strong example that other organizations need to see,” concludes Hart.



worksites, digging with excavation crews and working on framing crews as a laborer. After graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in business administration, Andrew started working full-time with the company. His first project was overseeing a 12-unit condominium development in the Mississippi neighborhood of North Portland. Since the companies inception, Colas Construction has demonstrated resolve and commitment to reversing and mitigating the economic impact of displacement and gentrification. In 2003, the company began working with PCRI (Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives) doing single family home renovations and are currently partnering with the non-profit organization on Pathway 1000, a project that addresses generational poverty of Black residents and others displaced from North and Northeast Portland by providing homeownership and

Ground Breaking Ceremony Beatrice Marrow Built By Colas Construction L to R Andrew Colas, Mayor Ted Wheeler, Maxine Fitzpatrick, Commissioner Dan Saltzman



hen it comes to building from the ground up in Portland, Oregon, Colas Construction knows the value of perseverance and hard work. The city’s most successful, minority-owned construction firm was founded in 1997 by Haitian immigrant, Hermann Colas, Jr., CEO of the family business. His son, Andrew Colas, serves as company President and his daughter, Aneshka, is the chief financial officer(CFO). Andrew Colas became involved with the family business at an early age, garnering experience apprenticing on 22


rental housing opportunities that create wealth, stabilize families and provide living wage jobs for current and future residents of the community. As a minority owned firm, Colas won the bid to construct an 80-unit apartment complex known as the Beatrice Morrow Apartment Project and a second apartment construction project that will result in an additional 76-80 units that will be made available for displaced families returning to North and Northeast Portland. Andrew Colas, who was born and raised in Portland’s historic African-American neighborhoods, points out that a unique aspect of these apartments is that they are 2-3 bedroom homes designed to accommodate families. “2 and 3 bedroom units are rarely seen in apartment buildings, especially in a hustle and bustle metropolis like Portland,” Colas explained. Impressed with the size, scope and vision of Pathway 1000, Colas believes in the capacity for the project to make significant strides on behalf of those displaced by gentrification and economic inequality. “Maxine Fitzpatrick(Director of PCRI) had a grand vision for the Pathway 1000 project. She really believed they could lead the charge on addressing displacement by creating 1000 units of housing in this inner city over a relatively short time period,” Colas enthused. Colas went on to highlight the potential for Pathway 1000 to extend far beyond just addressing displacement. “One of the things that drew us to the project and to Maxine’s vision, was the economic development impact, all the jobs created as a result of the projects. For example, when we received the contract, we immediately subcontracted out between 80-95 % of the total allocated budget. We manage all of the pieces of the contract including the trades, mechanical,

as a company is to truly be an equal opportunity employer,” Colas shared. “We really take that to heart and we make sure that as we are hiring, people that are on our management teams, people that are on our field crews and in different positions throughout the entire company, represent diverse types of people from diverse backgrounds. Maxine has also been a visionary at creating economic development at a high level within communities of color. Through PCRI, she has made a big push to center it’s focus on benefiting all socio economic and racial communities. Of the projects we are currently working on for PCRI, 30-40% of the contracts have gone to women and minority owned businesses like Ramore Construction, Affordable Electric, Faizon Construction, etc…” he stated with a smile.

Andrew Colas - Owner Colas Construction

electrical, HVAC, finishes, etc…,” Colas explained. “There are 50 different companies being hired on a $20 million dollar project, who are then employing vast amount of individuals. We are talking about 100’s of individuals feeling the impact of these projects, in fact there are over 400 employed through the PCRI projects alone. The economic development piece from just the construction is huge.” Huge indeed. Using the IMPLAN model (an economic analysis standard widely utilized since 1979) the study found that the initial $300 million capital infusion for construction of the Pathway 1000 units will have an $875 million overall impact on the local economy. Also built into the Initiative is a minimum 10-year pipeline of construction projects with an emphasis on hiring minority-owned firms and workers. Despite the limited capacity of registered Portland MBE(Minority Business Enterprises) and DBE(Disadvantaged Business Enterprises), 2 organizations, NAMC-OR(National Association of Minority Contractors-Oregon) and MCIP(Minority Contractors Improvement Project) are collaborating with PCRI on procurement and outreach strategies to coordinate workforce placement for the Pathway 1000 construction pipeline. The strategies will include procedures that ensure there is adequate notification prior to bid announcement, sufficient time to research and bid the project, and procurement language and risk management requirements that do not create unintentional barriers or restrictions for DBE engagement.

The relationship between Colas Construction and PCRI has also resulted in long-term relationships that have netted additional partnerships throughout Portland. “Having jobs like the Pathway 1000 program lined up have also given us other opportunities throughout the city,” Colas explained. “We just landed 2 size-able contracts with Metro and Cascadia Housing, which have also allowed us to grow as a company.” Jim Hlava, Vice President Of Housing for Cascadia Behavioral Health noted,““Through our RFQ process, we were drawn to Colas, as they were driven to move their company to manage bigger projects on their own. Noting their collaboration with other established General Contractors on other projects, the location of the Garlington Center in the Historic Albina District, it’s place as center of the African-American community and in the spirit of the legacy forged by Reverend Garlington, the selection of Colas Construction for the Garlington Center made all the sense in the world. We have formed a great partnership with Colas.”

“ Diversity and inclusivity are also 2 major focuses for both PCRI and Colas Construction. “

Diversity and inclusivity are also 2 major focuses for both PCRI and Colas Construction. “For us, a part of our mission

Colas couldn’t agree more. “When you have work and you know you have a booked amount of work for a period of time, you feel more comfortable hiring that senior estimator or senior project manager, growing out our field crews and hiring on a lot of carpenters and laborers, a large number who are people of color. A lot of our subcontractors grow as we grow. Being able to share growth and learning from others has been exciting, especially on the Pathway 1000 program,” he said. As for the legacy and company he inherited, Andrew Colas is nothing if not a proud son. “I’m proud to look at my father who grew up in Haiti. the first independent black republic in the western hemisphere. He came here, served in the US military in the Vietnam war, planted seeds and has done a lot to impact this community. I’m proud to be able to represent the work he’s done and the path that he’s been able to show me. My only hope is that I can show that path to as many individuals as I can in my tenure as President of this company,” he concluded. FIND MORE AT PCRIHOME.ORG | ISSUE 1 | PATHWAY 1000


collective impactPCrI’s development staff WORDS BY SYDNEY ODELL


inding strategic ways to combat Portland’s growing gentrification is a major obstacle when it comes to creating an equitable future for Northeast residents. In a time when home sales have increased on an average of 149% to 317% since 2000 (PCRI Pathway 1000 Implementation Plan, page 55), and employment and incomes have not kept up with these trends, especially in low-income and communities of color, affordable housing advocates certainly have their work cut out for them. Travis Phillips, head of the Housing Development Project at PCRI, is no exception, and he has brought his best tools to the table with the Pathway 1000 project. From the very beginning, Travis was heavily involved in listening to the concerns and desires



Pictured: Michael Fu, Travis Phillips and Julia Metz

of Northeast PCRI residents by attending many community meetings. It was here at PCRI that the displaced AfricanAmerican community first started to talk about the potential for healing with Maxine Fitzpatrick’s vision of enacting the “right to return.” Essentially, those with longstanding roots in the Northeast community should have a prioritized opportunity for wealth creation in the rapidly changing neighborhood. Born from those initial meetings, the final Pathway 1000 project will serve as a pipeline of development over the next 10 years to include affordable rental units, homes for purchase by first-time buyers, and commercial retail space in Northeast Portland. After solidifying the why of the project, Travis and his team got to work on figuring

out how to logistically make PCRI’s vision come to light. This includes everything from land acquisition, to bank loans, to selecting the right construction workforce. With the Pathway 1000 implementation plan as the guiding force of the project, the NE community began to see light at the end of the tunnel. Travis also facilitated brainstorming sessions with a team of Masters in Urban and Regional Planning and candidates from Portland State University to design homes that are well built and suited to the needs of their future owners. As a former member of the construction industry, Travis knew that their calculations could make or break the project. Before working with PCRI, Travis had previously worked as a residential general contractor in the same neighborhood PCRI serves, and even collaborated with the organization on a few projects. It was that interaction which inspired him to make the leap during the 2008 recession, and begin connecting the dots between equity, homeownership, and the AfricanAmerican community in Portland.“In my position at PCRI, I connect regularly with bankers, construction crews, architects, PCRI’s residents, and all sorts of other people. I try to listen carefully to their needs,” Travis explained.“In the course of this work, most everyone I connect with has different perspectives and priorities, and it’s my job to find the common threads or to stand up for what is important for our community, when not everyone sees things from the same perspective.”Working closely with colleagues Julia Metz and Michael Fu, PCRI’s housing development department is responsible for overseeing the Pathway 1,000 project from the planning stages all the way to construction. PCRI’s development pipeline includes 800 for sale homes, and approximately 200 units slotted for affordable rental housing for low-income families and seniors during the next two to three years. This will have the public benefit of converting non-taxable land owned by PCRI, and converting it into long-term tax sustainable land. In addition, the Pathway 1000 project aims to create hundreds of quality homes and townhouses, available for purchase and affordable rental units all designed and built as a high-quality investment opportunity for the African-American community.

1000 initiative is more than just building houses--it’s about creating a safe space for African-American families to once again set down their roots and thrive as part of a united Northeast community. These work opportunities also serve as another access point for the community to gain better access to economic opportunity, self-sufficiency, and self-determination. At the same time, Travis makes sure to not get lost in the overarching scale of the project. The housing development team and residents services team work closely together to seek grants and other financial resources for lowerincome families. With the rising development c o s t o f h o m e s , m a ny potential homeowners are limited in their ability to buy a home due to their inability to secure a down-payment. PCRI has received funds from the City of Portland, Meyer Memorial Trust, and Wells Fargo Bank who have allocated a total of nearly 2 million dollars to contribute to a Down Payment Assistance fund for potential homeowners. These DPA funds will currently assist 20-25 homebuyers who will be able to access up to $80,000 per household. However, these numbers are still far from what is needed to assist a large population of the low income community. To combat this, PCRI will also push at an institutional level for long-term policy change from the City of Portland to build up equity and assets for the NE community. Travis and his team know that they need to address structural change in tandem with building opportunities for the African-American community in NE Portland. In this way, Pathway 1000 can truly deliver on their promise of re-building a strong NE community through homeownership opportunities. Ultimately, Travis excitement is palpable as he talks about the future opportunities for his community. As a people over profit initiative, this project has enabled Travis to act as a standard bearer of hope alongside other PCRI departments in the fight for equity and justice.“Rarely, if ever, has an initiative of this type and scale been led by a community organization like PCRI” Travis said. “It’s challenging to figure out how to best achieve all the goals we’re shooting for with Pathway 1000: supporting an under-utilized workforce, building capacity and creating opportunity for small and minority-owned companies, and constructing new homes that are affordable at a time in Portland when construction activity is at its peak. But we have the opportunity to do something truly special with Pathway 1000 to undo some of the wrongs of the past, ensure folks can get into good-paying jobs, and give people the tools to move back to neighborhoods they have been pushed out of. How cool is that?”

“ I connect with different perspectives and priorities, and it’s my job to find the common threads or to stand up for what is important for our community, when not everyone sees things from the same perspective. ”

Travis’ team also works to integrate Pathway 1000 objectives into the process of building by utilizing the invaluable skills of African-American owned businesses and contractors. These organizations have demonstrated a strong commitment to employ, promote and support PCRI residents and other lower-income workers, thereby embodying the core mission of the development project. Because ultimately, the Pathway




PCRI Resident Service Team Celebrates at Groundbreaking Ceremony

pcri’s resident services staff - helping clients navigate the path to homeownership WORDS BY sydney odell



hen it comes to community development,Andrea Debnam puts her money where her mouth is. With over 18 years’ experience selling real estate, working in title and escrow, and collaborating with nonprofits in Portland, Andrea brings her wealth of information about the homeownership process to help empower her clients as a Financial Educator at PCRI.

father and her aunt were in the real estate business, and Andrea herself grew up just blocks from the PCRI main office. However it wasn’t until Andrea bought her first home that the potential for wealth creation really clicked for her. Andrea realized that the alternative of paying rent for the rest of her life with an ever increasing rent market was scarier than the leap needed to purchase her own home.

A fiercely loyal member of the Northeast community, Andrea is also no stranger to the unique challenges which face her hometown neighborhood. Both her

Through her own firsthand experience, Andrea realized that the process of homeownership wasn’t actually that hard. Many people she knew were


closer than they realized towards taking advantage of these homeownership possibilities. It was this awakening that motivated Andrea to help walk others through that same homeownership process at PCRI. “Homeownership is one of the most certain and sure ways that families for generations are able to pass on wealth,” Andrea explains. “Unfortunately, a lot of people in the African-American community were denied this opportunity in the past and could have been a lot further ahead financially had it not been for this historic redlining and

discrimination. But it’s not too late, and people are ready for that opportunity again. Through this new Pathway 1,000 initiative, we work to help displaced community members exercise their right to return to Northeast Portland.” Andrea’s local spirit gives her a unique edge in being able to relate to Andrea Debnam her clients experiences and desires in Portland. By sharing her story and experiences, she hopes to create a relationship with her clients that will go beyond pure informational meetings. “When it comes to being a really successful Financial Educator, people have to know that you care. You can’t fake being genuinely interested in your client’s success, and you have to have compassion. I think my experiences growing up in Portland and telling my story help me to be an effective counselor at PCRI.” Debnam also believes that equity and empowerment extend to every phase of the process. “At our informational sessions, I always tell my clients that the only difference between us is where we sit at the table. I just happen to have more information about the home ownership process, but that’s all that separates us. We’re in this together.” With her team of hardworking financial specialists, Andrea works towards focusing PCRI’s time and efforts to meet people’s real homeownership wants and needs. Throughout the design process, Andrea collaborates with different industries to make sure that the Pathway 1,000 homes are homes that people want to invest in not only because of the stability they provide, but also for their aesthetic. In this way, the path to homeownership moves from individual family stability to a community development project for the African-American population in Northeast Portland. At PCRI, Andrea and her team really dive into budgeting to look at where client’s money is going to in order to better organize spending practices so that it accurately reflects their client’s lifestyle, needs, and future ideals. This also means working with her clients to set realistic expectations about homeownership. “With homeownership you have to start somewhere, and your first house may not be your dream house. But it’s important that you start working towards the path that will lead to your ideal future home.” Andrea also firmly believes that homeowners should feel empowered to ask

the right questions, and not let someone just dictate your options. One of the most important missions of PCRI is to help provide people with the tools to take control of their own financial health. Homeownership is an investment, and often a very important one that is specific to a particular homeowners needs. “The home you want should be the one you can afford. Because at the end of the day, you are the only one who is going to be paying that mortgage” Andrea explains. “Not your realtor, not your friend, not your loan officer. And I encourage potential homeowners to find someone or some organization that can give you accurate information based on your specific circumstances.” Andrea is also working to initiate a post-purchase program to help people maintain their homes as long term investments. In the end, she hopes to create long-term relationships with PCRI clients so that homeowners will continue to call PCRI with questions knowing that they are talking to someone they can trust. From home repairs to refinancing, selling your home to buying a home—PCRI is there to walk their clients through every step of the process. “When people walk in with fear, but they walk out with the keys to their home that they didn’t think was even possible, that’s really gratifying to me. Our goal is your goal, I’ll give you the tools, you put in the work, and we’ll support you along the way to help you achieve your goals.” Over the years, Andrea has had the privilege to work with many inspiring homeowners—each with their own unique story. She remembers fondly the process of helping a 70 years-young retired woman move from renting her home through PCRI to buying her first home. The woman was so grateful and so hard working and went on to prove to Andrea that it’s never too late to achieve your goals. Linda Tellis -Kennedy “ To m e , e v e r y homeowner is a success story” Andrea smiles good-naturedly. “Whatever it is you want to do or achieve, you can do it. At PCRI your goals are our goals and if it’s within our power to help you, we will.” Time and time again Linda Tellis Kennedy has proved herself dedicated towards the mission of helping the Portland community to become financially self-sufficient. Before FIND MORE AT PCRIHOME.ORG | ISSUE 1 | PATHWAY 1000


coming to work at PCRI, Linda worked as a DHS Case Manager where she helped clients to move past traumatizing issues of domestic violence and child welfare. Linda found her work incredibly rewarding, but the results of her work were very numbers and policy driven. After years of service, Linda knew that there had to be a different approach to helping her community member’s rise out of poverty. As a native Portland resident herself, Linda was intimately aware of the unique challenges facing the AfricanAmerican community which couldn’t be solved by focusing on the basic numbers. Linda found herself looking for an organization which could match her passion for helping the African-American community through education and wealth creation. Finally, Linda made the shift to serve her community by putting her big heart to work as a homeownership coordinator at PCRI.

I have been there several times before” Linda explains. “But there’s no pressure or judgment at PCRI when talking about your personal information with your counselor. After all, the more you share the more we know and the more we can ultimately help you in the process to homeownership.” The process can be

“ Unfortunately, a lot of people in the very complicated and time consuming, African-American community were denied this but Linda works to make it as simple opportunity in the past and could have been a a n d s t r e s s - f r e e as possible. If lot further ahead financially had it not been for clients are willing to put in the this historic redlining and discrimination. ” front work, Linda

At PCRI, Linda sets up free orientation meetings and workshops to help the African-American community in North/Northeast Portland learn about the path towards homeownership. However, PCRI also works with the City of Portland to provide assistance to a larger population of potential homeowners throughout the city. “It’s very important to purchase a home, because real estate has always been one of the main and simplest ways to build wealth” Linda tells her clients. “It makes you feel stable and settled, but it’s also so much more than that. You can also use your home as a tool to leverage for other forms of wealth like helping to put your kids through college. Homeownership is a wealth building block that you can pass down through the generations.” PCRI’s homeownership preparation courses are great introduction for those who are curious about the process and the resources available to them for homeownership. At these orientations, participants learn about the history of the PCRI organization, and the history of N/NE Portland and how it relates to the African-American community. To Linda, it’s important that we address these historical realities and face the future of gentrification in order to communicate the importance of homeownership at this time in Portland. After the initial orientation, PCRI encourages interested participants to make an appointment to meet with one of the coordinators for a one on one consultation. It’s at these individual meetings where counselors like Linda talk specifics and get to know their clients wants and needs. “I understand where these folks are when they begin this process, because 28


does everything in her power to be a supportive asset in achieving their homeownership goals. The first thing Linda makes sure potential homeowners understand is their credit. After pulling up clients’ credit report and talking about scores, Linda analyzes her clients mortgage readiness to determine what kinds of homes they can afford. Afterwards, Linda helps her clients to choose a loan officer and start the pre-approval process for a loan. Once you have that value, clients can start working with a realtor and shopping for actual homes. Then once the clients have found the home they want to purchase, they can put in an offer. If that offer is accepted, that’s when the loan officer starts working on the loan package and PCRI gets working on whatever down payment assistant programs there are available. Before moving in, the home goes through an inspection and appraisal for any potential concerns. Finally, clients get to sign a big stack of paperwork which is called a “closing.” A few days after the closing is generally when her clients get their keys and can formally move into their new home. Linda and her fellow homeownership counselors are there throughout the home owning process, advising their clients and helping them to make educated decisions for their investment. Many of the clients Lina works with are first time buyers. For these clients, most of this process is as an advisor. so that clients feel comfortable making their home investment. One of her most inspiring clients was a woman who was close but not yet mortgage ready. After working hard for 6 months, her client had paid off all of those debts and came back to PCRI to start the process. With Linda’s help, she was able to move into her home right before Christmas and the birth of her child. Her card of gratitude is a reminder to Linda of the power of PCRI and her influence as a financial counselor. “It’s so rewarding to see these kinds of successful results from our participants,” Linda shares “and I’m such a big fan of my clients overcoming barriers to reach their goal of owning their first home.”

For as long as Suzanne Veaudry can remember she’s always understood the importance of being financially healthy. As a young c h i l d , S u z a n n e ’s father was diligent about instilling in his children a sense of financial integrity. Her father would often talk about the Suzanne Veaudry role of credit and the importance of honoring your financial obligations as tools towards living a successful life. While growing up under his tutelage she was often teased for being “cheap.” It wasn’t until later that she would begin to understand that her knack for saving and budgeting would help her to empower others to achieve

community members can learn more about the process and learn about opportunities which can help them to turn their hard work into a reality.

their financial goals.

that their credit is worse than it actually is. There is a taboo around talking about credit and finances. But there is also an element of mental health which is not often talked about. When you have been given so many barriers in your life, and have been continually displaced as many African-American communities have been in Northeast Portland--that starts to make you feel that you are not worthy of having your dreams and your goals realized.

These early experiences laid the groundwork for Suzanne’s passion for economics as a tool for individual and community development. Suzanne started out her formal career teaching economics at Chapman University in California where she first began empowering the next generation with the tools to take control of their own financial success. Since then, Suzanne has worn many different hats in the financial industry but remains dedicated towards helping her clients to become their best financial selves. Today Suzanne puts her financial skills to use as one of two Financial Educators at PCRI where she helps community members to understand the homeownership process and create healthy financial habits that will last long after their home is purchased. In just over a year and a half Suzanne has worked with 150 different clients to organize their finances and prepare for homeownership. As an individual development account specialist (IDA), Suzanne also works to make sure that individual initiative in the homeownership process doesn’t go unrewarded. An IDA is a is matched savings account that helps prospective homeowners build assets in order to meet their down-payment requirements. Through PCRI, clients accepted into the IDA program are required to make a commitment to save a minimum of $3,000 over the course of three years. This breaks down to around $85 dollars a month. After three years, PCRI matches those savings threefold—potentially contributing up to $9,000 for their clients to use towards a down payment on their home. While there are many opportunities available, the process of homeownership can still be very daunting for first-time buyers in an ever-changing housing market. PCRI helps to combat this by providing monthly workshops where

After attending a general homeownership workshop through PCRI, prospective homeowners are matched up with their financial educator who will walk them through their individual finances. It’s at this stage that Suzanne really begins to develop that intimate relationship with her clients to become more aware of their needs and realities. “I don’t think a lot of us spend enough time focusing on our priorities and what is going to make us the happiest” she explains. “Priorities are very personal things. Each person has their own unique story and dream about what their future life could look like. At PCRI, we meet people where they are at in their lives and give them the time to breathe and analyze their dreams. It makes for a very special relationship with clients to watch them personally develop throughout the home owning process.” Many clients come to her with a misunderstanding and fear

This misinformation about personal finance and opportunity can be a huge obstacle towards empowering clients to invest in homeownership. Suzanne’s financial expertise and counseling helps clients to not only feel informed but also confident about their unique financial circumstances. To Suzanne, it’s important that her clients not only understand the legal terms and obligations of buying a home, but to also feel that they are supported and understood in those goals. “Once you start building that self confidence and realizing that as an American you DESERVE to have a house” Suzanne continues “you’re going to start working towards turning that dream into a reality.” Suzanne is continually inspired by her clients, who she refers to in many ways as teachers. She remembers one client in particular who was very hardworking and dedicated towards her goals despite unbelievable barriers including domestic violence, single parenthood, and homelessness. Despite this, Suzanne’s client was always giving back to her community through her kind and intelligent personality. Her example and strength helped to show Suzanne how to be a better person, and has served as a source of motivation for Suzanne’s continued work at PCRI.



Root Shock

PCRI Clients Find Healing Through Homeownership WORDS BY fawn aberson


t’s an ambitious goal to be sure. Through Pathway 1000, PCRI has pledged to enroll 80 low income, disadvantaged community members each year for the next 10 years in the ‘pathway to homeownership’, with the bulk of the available housing concentration being developed in N/NE Portland. They will also be giving special consideration to engaging Black community members, the demographic identified as being the most disproportionately and involuntarily displaced from an area that, less than two decades ago, was 50% Black. It is taking some savvy financial navigation on PCRI’s part to help guide their plan, especially since the current housing cost in N/NE has risen between 149-300% from 2000-2017. This means that the current cost of an average, singlefamily home in that area is anywhere from $385,736$619,950, a price that even middle-class families can’t afford. With numbers like these, it is no wonder that in 2015, the Portland City Council declared itself to be in a “housing emergency.”Currently, the Black homeownership rate in Portland stands at 27%, compared to a 54% rate of homeownership for White Portland households. “Although homeownership policies and programs at the federal, state and local levels have espoused to support homeownership for Black and other low-income households for decades, Black residents continue to face barriers to buying homes, primarily because of lower household earnings and subsequent net worth,”states the Pathway 1000 Implementation Plan (pg. 55). With 25 years of experience and success providing affordable housing and culturally responsive services to the N/NE Portland Community, PCRI is turning their laser focus and fierce advocacy towards creating 1000 new homeowners. They will concentrate on creating



ownership through Conventional Mortgage Purchase, Lease Purchase and Cooperative Housing, while keeping costs affordable by using a creative formula of private finance, public subsidies, down-payment assistance and empowering potential homeowners with the skills and practices necessary to procure the best lending terms possible. Through this strategy, PCRI intends to bring long-awaited healing to a community that has suffered severe “root shock”, defined as “the traumatic stress reaction to the loss of some or all of one’s emotional ecosystem.”PCRI’s formula is already in play and the proof of their successful infrastructure is emerging. Meet Lynn Mangum, Natalie Adkins and Victoria Davis, all benefactors of PCRI’s wrap-around services.

lynn mangum

For the past 2 years, Lynn Mangum has manifested a sequence of ‘a-ha’ moments that have recently revealed what she can only describe as “God’s plan”. You see, she is about to embark on a milestone event in her life by becoming a first time homeowner. Equally significant, is that her new home will be in a NE Portland neighborhood, just blocks from her childhood home, where her parents still live. In an area in which gentrification has long since priced Mangum and much of her Black community out into the obscure outskirts of the city. The recent launch of the Pathway 1000 Implementation Plan offers hope. “Right to Return”, PCRI’s clarion call, counters the devastating root-shock displacement tactics that yanked so many of Portland’s Black residents from neighborhoods in N/NE and is a call that Mangum heard loud and clear. Although she didn’t realize it at the time, her Right to Return all began with a reflection on improving her credit. “Growing up, my Mom and Dad would share the value of paying bills on time and having good credit,

but did I always listen? No. I just didn’t connect to the significance of it. However, two years ago, I sat down and started reading up on credit scores and how they work, and that was just life to me. It really connected, especially how much paying your bills on time affected your credit. I was like, ‘Girl, you sitting here with money in the bank and making late payments? Why?’I never made a late payment since,” shared Magnum Simultaneously, Mangum was also focused on her housing. She was living on Marine Drive, the cost of her rent was skyrocketing, her career was in transition, and she was rightly concerned. Reluctantly, she took the offer of a generous friend to go and live in outer SE Happy Valley. However, she felt uncomfortable relying on others and being so

displacement.” (Pathway 1000 Implementation Plan Page 26) So, when PCRI and others recently started to kick up the dust around affordable housing issues in the N/NE and in Portland’s Black communities, Mangum knew it was time for a change. “What changed in me at that time, was seeing what was happening in our [Black] community to all of the people who had, and were still being, displaced. Young kids and adults, struggling to get back and forth from the inner neighborhoods to the outer, were missing out on resources and support that come from being part of a community. Even myself, prior to moving, had Lynn Mangum been renting at a price that could’ve been my house mortgage. So, when I heard about Pathway 1000, my mind set became, ‘I want to own, back in

far away from her elderly parents and the community in which she had grown up. With housing so interwoven into her personal journey, Mangum had been paying attention to the affordable housing discussions happening in the media and in her community. One evening, she decided to attend a community forum on the subject presented by the Portland Housing Bureau at New Song Church. Walking away with a strong desire and mindset that she would become a homeowner, she followed up through an application process, scored high marks on the N/NE Portland Preference Policy (a policy strongly influenced by PCRI’s Right to Return adaptation), and qualified as one of the thousands who had been unfairly displaced. For Mangum, this was not only a second chance for herself, but for her extended family as well. Recalling the lost opportunity of developing her grandparents home in NE Portland after their passing, she remembers, “My father and his siblings ended up selling the house. At the time, neither they, nor any of us grandchildren who had good jobs at the time, were connected to the means or mindset to develop property. Looking back, we could have put two houses on the lot where big Mommy and Daddy lived and had something bigger for all of us to share.”Aside from the well-documented involuntary displacement occurrences (Vanport flood, I-5 Corridor development, etc), missed opportunities like this were all too common for Black property owners in N/NE Portland who never got connected with the information or resources that public investment was supposed to yield. In the 1990s and early 2000s, public funds, steered through the guidance of the Albina Community Plan and Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area (ICURA), were supposed to “...primarily benefit existing residents and businesses” and were to protect them from the “threats posed by gentrification and

my community, and near my parents house where I grew up’. I wanted a place where my great-nieces and nephews can come visit, connect with their history, and know that when I go, this is their home.”After Mangum filled out her application, she was told her that it would be a little while before it would be reviewed, as there was a long waiting list. She stayed in touch, stayed prepared, took some of the homeownership classes offered through PCRI, kept her credit on track, saved money, and most importantly, focused upon keeping an encouraging mindset. Before she knew it, she got the call that her application was approved, and she could move forward through the rest of process. Working closely with PCRIs Homeownership Program Coordinator, Linda Tellis-Kennedy, she went to the bank to get per-qualified for a loan, and chose a realtor to assist with closing a home. Which is where she feels God’s plan really came full circle. As it turns out, she will be a proud owner of one of the new townhomes being built by Albina Construction on N. Williams and Emerson, just around the corner from her aging parents house, in the neighborhood she grew up in. “When I told my Dad I was buying a home and moving back into the neighborhood, he just kind of nodded his head and smiled. You could see the tears in his eyes, as he let me know that he was really happy for me,” Mangum shared. Mangum also starting to develop an understanding of generational wealth and the capital benefits of homeownership. “I know there is capital gain to be had by being able to purchase this property, including a nice tax refund. However, as I gain that vision, I am also trying to share it with my family and community. I think anyone who is getting a house at this particular time through Pathway 1000 needs to be mentors to the others that are coming along behind us. It’s an opportunity for our community to rise to the occasion

“ I want to own, back in my community, and near my parents house where I grew up. ”



and get back to what our heritage is all about: giving and helping each other,” concludes Mangum.

Natalie adkins

Natalie Adkins had always visualized having an island. Not the kind surrounded by sand and sea, rather the one that sits as a counter in the middle of a kitchen, covered by a granite slab in a house she could call her own. 2017 marked the year Ms. Adkins, a 30 year-old African-American single mother of three, saw that dream come true, becoming a new homeowner with the help and guidance of PCRI. “Growing up, we moved around a lot. Although I always had a roof over my head, we never had stable housing where I could feel like I was home. I just kept thinking that when I got older and started my own family, I would want to give my kids the stability I never h a d , ” s h a r e d Ad k i n s . T h e journey to homeownership for Adkins started with a resolute disposition to acquire her own house by the time she was 30. Like many young people in their 20s, Adkins delved down the pathways of relationships, career choices and starting a family, with varying degrees of struggles and triumphs. However, unlike most young people in their 20s, she never lost the emotional connection of her childhood longing for stable housing and it prompted her to seek out programs and services that could assist her in attaining that dream.

two years, Adkins worked on monitoring her credit, forming and following a budget, saving money and perusing the listings of houses for sale online. “PCRI Financial Education/ IDA Specialist, Susan Veaudry Casaus, is like a budgeting guru. She gave us a lot of tips on how to thrift and most importantly, how to save. I will never forget being in a class where she told us about a conversation she had with her daughter asking her, ‘What’s the greatest tip on saving money?’ She replied, ‘not spending it mom.’ That rings in my head to this day, because if a child can get that, I can get it,” Adkins laughs. Through PCRI, Adkins connected with a down payment assistance program that had an IDA component for a match and saved $2,000 by putting away $85 to $100 each month. Natalie Adkins

“I really tried to stay in my budget and cut unnecessary purchases like clothes or fast food. Whatever I didn’t spend, I put away into savings. It actually motivated me not to spend money so that I could reach my $2,000 goal that much faster,” Adkins recalls. Then came the catalyst for change. Adkins found herself as a freshly single parent, pregnant with her third child and about to go on maternity leave. She was living in a two-bedroom apartment and, like a lot of Portlanders in recent history, had just been sent her a renewal lease agreement that had upped her rent dramatically. “The push for me was when I couldn’t put up my daughter’s crib because the space was too small. That’s the day I called Linda [Tellis-Kelly, PCRI homeownership coordinator] and said, I need to get a realtor and a loan today. She was like, ‘Your credit is where it needs to be, you’ve saved the money to activate your IDA and you been pre-qualified through the bank, so let’s do it.’ Linda connected me with a referral to some realtors, I picked one, and we set about finding a house,” explained Adkins. With her realtor in tow, they set about finding a house that fell in line with Adkins’ “list of needs” which included a fenced backyard, hardwood floors, and of course the beloved kitchen island. On the fourth place they looked at, she found her home. “The day I got my keys was so surreal. It was late afternoon, just before I had to pick up my kids from daycare. I met my realtor at the house and got the keys and was like, “This is my house!” I remember the first thing I did was take the garage door opener and put it in my car. Then I started thinking about how am I going to get moved if I’m going to have this baby any day? And, I can’t believe I really did this, I bought a house!!

“ The best part about the classes was that they kept you in the mindset of reaching your goals. “

“When I came across PCRI and read their mission statement, I knew I had found the place that could help me,” stated Adkins. She contacted PCRI and was encouraged to begin her journey by attending their homeownership education classes. Attending these classes, while juggling her full-time job as a nurse and raising a young family, was sometimes a challenge for Adkins, however, she knew if she deferred taking the classes, her steps to becoming a homeowner would be delayed as well. Although not mandatory, the classes were instrumental in giving Adkins all of the knowledge needed for successful homeownership attainment. “The best part about the classes was that they kept you in the mindset of reaching your goals. The staff, who were basically my only support as someone out here on my own, were always there for me, day or night,” recalls Adkins. PCRI’s suite of wraparound services for their clients include: one-on-one coaching and/or referrals to credit building/repair services, budgeting, financing assessment for loan qualification and down payment assistance through IDA match programs. For 32


Empowered by her childhood desire to plant roots and her

capability in achieving its manifestation, she looks forward to watching her kids grow taller each year as she marks their height progression on the wall of their new home. “It was all just so emotional and exciting at the same time. I felt kind of overwhelmed. I called Linda and she was like, It’s OK, you got this, we are here for you, and they were, through the whole process. I just felt so blessed,”Adkins concludes.

victoria davis Years after the paint has dried, the curtains get hung and the dog has settled onto its favorite spot on the couch, people who have purchased a home turn their focus to sustaining and maintaining that ownership. Such is the case for Victoria Davis, who bought a home with the support of PCRI and their collective impact partnerships nearly 4 years ago. It was Davis’ second chance as an owner having purchased one some years ago with her former husband, but she had long since been renting apartment spaces. So when she decided to become a homebuyer again, on her own, the process felt significantly different under the guidance of PCRI. The hands on support she received from homeownership classes and information sessions had been absent from her first experience, so to have the education this go around made a huge difference in boosting her confidence. “PCRI is really like a village of services. I had always wanted to be a homeowner again, but wasn’t sure if I could do it on my own. Then, on a referral from Innovative Changes [a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution ] I attended a homeownership orientation class at PCRI and met the fabulous Andrea Debnam [Manager of Resident Services] who became my coach. She told me I could be a homeowner, and I believed her, and she was right,” laughed Davis. What Davis really appreciated was how Debnam and her team helped her understand the process of what transitioning from being a long time renter back to a homeowner really meant. She had to consider the added bills, such paying all utilities that are often included in rental fees, how to get the best financing deal, what to look for in a house and a host of other responsibilities that go along with purchasing a major expense. “Is it easy being a homeowner? No MA’AM, it is some work. We all want the ‘American Dream’, but what they don’t tell you is what comes with attaining that dream, debt. But, if you learn to manage it correctly, you can minimize that debt instead of being victimized by it. Because of the education I received at PCRI, I feel better prepared

to do that.” Davis explained. For Davis the process back into homeownership really started 3 years prior to it actually happening, and, after a letter she wrote to God. “I will always remember this part of my journey. It was suggested by somebody really close to me, that I should write a letter to God and ask him for what it was that I wanted. So I did. I tell you God works in mysterious ways because everything I asked for he gave it to me in abundance,” shared a teary eyed Davis, connecting to the gratitude of the outcome. “Now I sit in a house with high ceilings, a spacious kitchen with self closing cupboards (her favorite part), 3 bedrooms, a garage for my car and no big trees, cause I hate raking leaves. He delivered BIG.”From the time she Victoria Davis wrote the letter to the achievement of her goal, Davis also noted that she exercised patience through the process. She wasn’t in any particular hurry because she knew she had “stuff’ to work on financially and mentally to prepare for the big step.

“ I will always remember this part of my journey. ”

Fast forward to present day, Davis now shares her home with several family members and feels empowered by the opportunity and ability to provide respite and support. Whenever she feels overwhelmed she pictures her three grandbabies, son and daughter-in-law who watched her go through the homeownership process and then took suit, purchasing their own property in Salem, Oregon. “I think I may have been able to give them a few pointers that I learned,” admits Davis, “ And it’s great to know that what I have can be passed onto them someday to help continue building wealth in the family.”Her message to other African Americans thinking about connecting to PCRI is this. “It is time to get back to the basics. Many of us had been pushed out for one reason or another but, now is the time to reinvest back into your future through homeownership. There is nothing like having your own home. The first day I got my keys, I spent the night by myself, with nothing in the house but a blanket and a pillow, and slept on the floor. I just enjoyed the moment, soaking it all in. It was so surreal. After you put in the hard work and see the results it is pretty amazing. It just made me feel humble and grateful. When I started I wasn’t sure if I could do it but God showed me something different. I put in the work on my end and He put folks like PCRI in my path to help get me the rest of the way home.” Davis concluded. FIND MORE AT PCRIHOME.ORG | ISSUE 1 | PATHWAY 1000


(Pictured ) Matthew Strickland, Cameo Whitney, and Kimberley Jackson.


pcri’s resident MANAGEMENT TEAM SUPPORTS HOUSING STABILITY WORDS BY Michele Darr Everybody knows that the keys to building a structure that can weather any number of storms is the quality of the foundation and the ground floor crew. As stabilizers paving the way forward for new PCRI tenants and potential homeowners, 3 intrepid souls; Kimberley Jackson, Cameo Whitney and Matthew Strickland; stand at the gate, armed with the tools to hasten a successful return of those previously displaced from historic North and Northeast Portland. “We work on the apartments and the single family rentals. There are approximately 387 rental properties in N/NE PDX. Our team of 3 manages all of them,” humbly stated Kimberley. “A typical day is following up on overnight requests, messages,” Cameo

chimed in. “We cover certifications for tenants, any documentation, leasing or payment processing. Basically, we run the gamut, beginning to end, of rental details. We are the first people that new tenants meet, after preeligibility screening. We give the first tours, help with paperwork, and hopefully they (new tenants) are approved for PCRI housing. The prospective new tenants then meet with the property manager to do income certification, paperwork upon move-in and schedule the move-in walk through, at which time we present them with keys. They are now a resident and eligible for the services of our resident services department which has the homeownership program, IDA, etc...” she added. With a

“ The future belongs to those who prepare for it today. ”- Malcolm X



goal of transitioning new residents from being tenants into being homeowners and generating opportunities to build generational wealth, Cameo confided, “It’s an educational process from the very beginning. Most of our residents come in off the street, which means they are looking for housing and are starting here with affordable housing. The education process starts with getting them into affordable housing, and as they are improving what they do on a day to day basis with their lives, whether it be work or family, w e i n c o r p o ra t e t h a t homeownership process with them, through our resident services. So, they are getting help on every level, from resident services to property managers. By letting them know these services and programs are available, they are given the opportunity to move to the next level.”It’s these opportunities that have made PCRI and the Pathway 1000 program one of the most desirable and sought after affordable housing programs in Portland. “It’s gotten people excited,”enthused Matthew Strickland. “I think they see a possibility that maybe they didn’t see before. Being renters from us has provided a foundation for families to stabilize and maybe increase their income over time, afford to pay their rent they are currently paying and to be able to dream about possibly owning their own home. That’s what Pathway 1000 gives people is a dream to strive for. Being renters from PCRI helps them to understand that’s a possibility.” Having personally experienced conditions not unlike those he seeks to serve through PCRI, Strickland continued, “Understanding where people are coming from, having experienced life myself, that’s really helpful to be able to share. I’ve been through this before too and it’s possible to come out of it on the other side. It takes having a compassionate heart, being mission driven from PCRI, knowing what our purpose is, and keeping people in safe, affordable housing is critical to people being able to stabilize themselves.”Managing the properties and needs of nearly 400 families is a lofty undertaking, especially when all of the responsibility lands squarely on the shoulders of the 3 of them. How DO they stay motivated, balanced and focused? “Coffee,” they said in unison, with a hearty laugh. On a more serious note, Kimberley reflected, “Most important is self care, making sure that we are checking in with each other and making sure we are all ok, because we understand that we all talk with a lot of various

people and personalities. Sometimes they (residents) vent and sometimes whatever is said in response may be the last straw. Sometimes we are that person who they are taking their last straw out on. It’s understanding that it’s not personal and by having compassion, empathy and a listening ear, we let them know that we are here for them, are doing our best to help them, not hurt them, and we want to see them succeed in their housing while assisting them with other goals they have in life. Because that’s what we are here for. We are here to provide affordable housing, to help sustain people and give them that hope that whatever they dream of, whether or not it be homeownership, that we can help them move in that direction.”With a waiting list of up to a year or longer, the process can seem daunting, especially with the Beatrice Morrow and King already at full Carleton Hart Architectural capacity. Homeownership Rendering of Triplex Townhouse becomes a paramount Coming in 2018 goal in light of the housing squeeze and as current rental residents move up and out, a home is then made for others who are in need of affordable housing opportunities. “It’s stated deeply in our mission that PCRI’s goal is to help families stabilize and move into homeownership,” shares Strickland. “If they are a current PCRI resident and move into homeownership through Pathway 1000, it helps by paying that forward through our mission. Because they have been able to stabilize and they have been able to achieve their dream of homeownership, the home that they were previously renting is now available for another family to rent and hopefully be able to do the same thing that they were able to do. ”Despite the waiting list, the team is eager to encourage people to spread the word about PCRI and the programming it offers. “If you know anyone who is in need of affordable housing, especially with rising rent costs, come to PCRI and be added onto our wait list. We have wonderful services to offer residents,” concludes Cameo. Strickland agrees. “If you are a current PCRI resident, and you are in a position to think about homeownership, do it. Go for it. You never know what the possibilities are, so go through Pathway 1000. You might be able to help another family in that process of helping yourself. Because if you move into a home you now own, you free up another affordable housing unit for another family. It’s a two-fold, win-win scenario. It serves you and can serve another family.”



From left to right: Mark Becket, Nicole Christmas, Kent Koehrsen Kwasi Armstrachan, Steve Archer, Jeff Clark, and Orlando Medina (not pictured)

THE ART of Maintenance

Meet the PCRI Fix-It Force WORDS BY Sydney Odell




ong after the ceremonial ribbon has been cut, residents have moved in, and the novelty of a new house has worn off, a new challenge starts to present itself in the Pathway 1,000 initiative. As the shift of focus moves from creation to sustainability, how do we ensure that this new rental opportunity is properly maintained for future PCRI families? With a little elbow grease and a lot of technical expertise, Nicole Christmas at PCRI’s Maintenance Department works to ensure that all residents in PCRI’s rental units have a safe and secure place to live. Under the supervision of Mark Beckett, these maintenance projects includes providing assistance with repairs, and carrying out improvements to keep families happy and invested in their northeast community. PCRI’s Technicians Steve Archer, Kwasi Armstrachan, Jeff Clark, Kent Koehrsen and Orlando Medina are are in the community day after day, interacting with hard-working tenants and acting as an educated liaison between macro and micro level concerns in the project’s implementation. From leaking sinks to updating kitchen floors, the PCRI Maintenance Department becomes the most prominent component of the post-move in process. Like many of her colleagues in different departments of PCRI, Nicole Christmas consistently cites her compassion for people in the northeast community as the drive behind her hard work ethic. She believes that you can make a difference in other people’s lives as long as you work from that baseline system of care for your clients, whatever your specific skill

set.“I have always engaged in community work as a volunteer,” Nicole shares. “I saw this as an opportunity to continue doing what I love to do while also being rewarded for it. PCRI offers an environment of cultural awareness and the kind that empowers all human beings.”In collaboration with PCRI’s Resident Services Department that provides culturally responsive programs and services including Homeownership Education and Counseling, Homeownership Retention, Financial Education and Individual Development Accounts (IDA’s) that encourage and promote selfsufficiency(Pathway 1000 Implementation Plan page 60), the Maintenance Department works primarily with PCRI’s rental units. Nicole is an adamant supporter of regular home maintenance tasks for new homeowners, likening it to a car which needs vigilant care in order to run at its peak performance. “People probably first think of the financial responsibility, forgetting about the time and labor that home ownership also requires,”Nicole explains. “Keeping up with regular home maintenance tasks will keep you from future headaches and wasted money.”She suggests creating a home maintenance calendar for your household. Whether online or on paper, jotting down small, regular tasks to be completed each week can help homeowners avoid feeling overwhelmed with maintenance work. Nicole takes a more flexible approach when it comes to planning her tasks according to season, leaving room for schedule changes as necessary. Some of the regular monthly maintenance checks she suggests include inspecting things like HVAC Filters and Fire extinguishers. On a quarterly basis, Nicole recommends tackling tasks relative to seasonal changes, including testing water heater pressure, cleaning out gutters, and testing smoke and carbon dioxide detectors. All of these regular maintenance tasks can help homeowners to stay on top of potential future problems. PCRI is currently working to implement a post-purchase program whereby, first time homeowners can learn the basics on how to maintain their investment. Nicole looks forward to helping with any future developments at PCRI, and is excited to take the baton once the Pathway 1000 Initiative starts nearing completion.“I am honored to be working for an organization that offers affordable housing and homeownership to people displaced by gentrification,”Nicole confessed.“Being a native of Oregon, it’s a priceless feeling knowing people are able to move back into the urban neighborhoods and having the resources to purchase. This project helps ensure everyone can experience the stability, safety and dignity that a home provides,” she concluded.

“ I saw this as an opportunity to continue doing what I love to do while also being rewarded for it. “



upcoming events MAY 3|MAY 16 Homeownership Orientation 1:00pm to 6:00pm

MAY 30 Obtaining a Mortgage Loan 6:00pm • What does it mean to be mortgage ready? What will be expected of you? • Types of loans (FHA, Conventional, VA)• The loan process • What questions should you ask when selecting a lender?

JUNE 6| JUNE 20 Homeownership Orientation 1:00pm 6:00pm

JUNE 27 Get Ready to be Ready 6:00pm

JULY 18 Homeownership Orientation 6:00pm

JULY 25 Working with a Realtor 6:00pm • Buyer vs Selling Agent • What does your agent do for you? • Shopping for a home

AUGUST 1|AUGUST 15 Homeownership Orientation 1:00pm 6:00pm

AUGUST 29 Understanding Credit 6:00pm • What is credit? What you need to know about credit? • What makes up a credit score? • No credit? How to build? • Disputing your credit report

SEPTEMBER 5|SEPTEMBER 19 Homeownership Orientation 1:00pm 6:00pm

SEPTEMBER 26 Get Ready to be Ready 6:00pm



upcoming events OCTOBER 3|OCTOBER 17 Homeownership Orientation 1:00pm - 6:00pm

OCTOBER 24 Cost of Homeownership 6:00pm • Post purchase support • Keeping and maintaining your home • Homeowners Insurance

NOVEMBER 7 Homeownership Orientation 1:00pm

NOVEMBER 14 Money Management & Budgeting 6:00pm • Do you know where your money is going each month? • Saving towards your future home purchase and beyond • Individual Development Accounts (IDAs)

DECEMBER 5 Homeownership Orientation 6:00pm

DECEMBER 19 Get Ready to be Ready 6:00pm

ADDITIONAL EVENTS May Each Year PCRI’s Annual Fundraising Gala June 2018 National Homeownership Month June 22- June 24 Good In The Hood in The Hood Multicultural Festival July PCRI Block Party September 22-23 The MLK Dream Run Weekend Celebration



A BOLD NEW PLAN FOR African-American HOME OWnershIP || Phone (503) 288-2923 40